Until there is a vaccine, COVID-19 is here to stay. Period. Even as states are beginning to experience the flattening of the curve, people will not feel safe gathering in large groups the way they did before, and maybe not ever again. The new reality for guest service and guest engagement is not just about fun or value. As we emerge from social isolation, the question all your visitors will be asking is, “What have you done to make your place safe?”
Your guests won’t be the only ones that are concerned. As staff begin to make their way back to the front line, they’ll want to know what measures have been put in place to ensure their safety as they interact with the public. With social distancing, this challenge will be enormous. Every site will face unique obstacles as they prepare for summer. Here are some areas that you’ll want to consider as you look forward to opening:
1. Send a message (literally).
Before your guests arrive, reach out and let them know what to expect and how you’ve been getting ready for their arrival. Share any procedures that might be different, including extended hours, potentially longer wait times, or closed exhibits. Ask for their help in keeping everyone safe by encouraging them to stay home if they feel sick or may have been exposed. Many of our clients are posting “What to Expect” videos on their websites or social media.
2. Lead by example.
In addition to the now-standard distancing guidelines, you’ll also want to prompt guests to be mindful of other preventative measures, such as limited capacity and cleaning stations. While you may be in a rush to get back to “normal,” your visitors will appreciate seeing masks, gloves, and even a short wait so that you can disinfect areas and equipment between guests.
3. Communicate frequently.
Reopening your site will be tricky as you find ways to provide a valuable experience while keeping visitors safe. Use your morning meetings to get feedback from your managers and staff about what’s working. Update signage to reflect new safety and cleanliness measures. Encourage guests and staff alike to communicate freely and offer you feedback.
The reality is that a huge part of your new responsibility to your guests is reassuring them that they are safe. They want to know that you’ve done everything possible for your location. Creating an environment where your guests and staff feel secure and cared for will help you navigate your reopening, and show your guests why you’re the place they can come back to.
As our sites learn to navigate this crisis, we’ll continue sharing best practices and tips from around the country. Visit our COVID-19 Resources page here, and check back frequently for updates.